The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) awarded a $51 million contract to Emergent BioSolutions, Inc., of Rockville, Md., for the development of a new anthrax vaccine using the protective antigen (rPA) to stimulate a protective immune response that neutralizes the anthrax toxins.

Anthrax preparedness remains one of BARDA's top priorities. This contract builds on HHS investments in antibiotics, antitoxins, and vaccine development for anthrax. It highlights the department's commitment to develop a next-generation, recombinant anthrax vaccine. Consistent with the recent HHS medical countermeasure review, this program enhances the pipeline of potential products and increases the overall chances of success of developing a new vaccine.

To learn more about the broad agency announcement, visit here. The medical countermeasure review is available here.

In the first two years of the contract, Emergent will develop the final vaccine formulation and test its stability. HHS can extend the contract annually for up to three years to support scale-up and optimization for large-scale manufacturing and additional animal studies needed to apply for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the vaccine. If the government extends the contract for all three years, the total five-year contract value could be $186.6 million.

This advanced research and development contract was awarded using a flexible federal government contracting tool known as a Broad Agency Announcement. This Broad Agency Announcement (BAA-BARDA-09-34) provides a way to identify innovative and promising technologies for advanced development across the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear research areas of interest. The current research areas of interest include vaccines, antitoxins, therapeutics, antimicrobial drugs, radiological/nuclear threat countermeasures, chemical threat countermeasures, and clinical diagnostic tools.

BARDA, within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a comprehensive integrated portfolio approach to the advanced research and development, stockpile acquisition, innovation, and manufacturing of the vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products for public health medical emergencies including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases.

Source:
HHS